Tag Archives: police

I can't breathe

I Can’t Breathe: Eric Garner, Police, Jesus

I Can’t Breathe. Police Above The Law.

I can’t breathe.

The last dying cry of Eric Garner.

His voice echoes on earth through millions of voices in the streets protesting for justice. The people are crying out for freedom. Freedom from fear of police officers who shoot and choke the life out of their victims. Freedom from terror of a violent, racist police force.

I have heard the argument many times that most police officers are caring, upstanding citizens who are forced to work with thugs. Yes, I do believe there are some good officers out there. I read their stories of delivering babies on highway shoulders, saving suburban house from robberies, pulling over drunk drivers before they hurt someone.

But Eric Garner, Michael Brown, and countless other people, mostly black and/or poor, have died under the oppressive suffocation of the dark side of policing. It seems that the violent officers run the game. The good officers keep their mouths shut and won’t or can’t stand up for righteousness.

I have experienced this personally. A terroristic officer pointed his gun at me and screamed at me to get down, while I was hobbling on a broken ankle and holding my two-year-old son. He violently arrested my husband on bogus charges. The other officer with him was gentler, even apologized to us, but he said that the rough officer was his superior and he had to “follow orders.” Why don’t these good officers stop the bad ones? The violent, murderous officers run the game, even if they are a small percentage.

They know they can get away with it. They abuse and kill victims, and never even face trial. They act above the law, because they ARE above the law. They can get away with murder. Grand juries almost never indict them, as shown so publicly with the Michael Brown and Eric Garner cases.

I Can’t Breathe. It’s On Camera.

People can argue all day about whether Michael Brown was a thug. There was no tape evidence. But the Eric Garner homicide by police was caught an tape. He was no thug, no threat to the life of the officer.

Eric Garner was put into a choke hold by New York City police officers, a maneuver so dangerous to victims that it is forbidden by the force. And what did Eric Garner do to trigger this violent procedure? He sold cigarettes on the street without collecting taxes. Hardly the crime of a violent thug. Certainly not a crime deserving of the death penalty.

The police said that Eric resisted arrest. Yes, he asked why he was being arrested. That is his right as an American citizen. He is innocent until proven guilty. Asking a question, or even accusing the officers of harassing him, does not qualify as assisting arrest. And it certainly does not justify a deadly choke hold.

The entire disturbing scene was caught on camera. Eric Garner never acted in a threatening manner toward the police. He plead for his life even as they choked the breath out of him.

“I can’t breathe,” he cried, dying. Why didn’t the officers let go? If the police are such good people, why didn’t they listen to his cry?

The callous officer who filed the first report did not even mention that a choke hold had been used (New York Daily News). The violence may never have come to light if a witness had not recorded the scene on camera. The medical examiner’s report did determine Garner’s death a homicide (Los Angeles Times).

The determination of homicide forced the involved officers to go before a grand jury. Even this was of little consequence. Despite the camera evidence, despite the medical evidence, the grand jury let the cops walk free to commit violence again. The American justice system committed the homicide against Eric Garner.

Because of American sanctioned police violence and American racism, this police crime will never come to earthly justice. But the heavenly cameras are always rolling, and this crime will not escape God’s holy justice.

How many of these police officers attend church, call themselves Christians? How many white Evangelicals say police racism doesn’t exist, police must kill to protect us? Jesus did not die on a cross for people to commit such horrible violence. Jesus was a friend to the poor and oppressed. People like Eric Garner.

I Can’t Breathe. I Have Asthma.

Eric Garner had asthma. This contributed to his death. The police should never put someone in a choke hold, especially a victim with asthma.

I can’t breathe. I know that feeling well. I empathize with Eric Garner. l, too, have asthma. Unlike Eric, my skin is white. The police never put me in a choke hold.

I have had times when I, too, cried I can’t breathe. This happened to me almost a year ago when I was working as a toddler teacher at Eagan Kinder Care. I had an asthma attack at work, and my boss disregarded my cry. When I went to the office to try to get my breath back, she told me to go back to the classroom and keep working through the choke hold of asthma. I did not lose my life, but I lost my job. My boss never mentioned the choke hold of asthma when she filled out paperwork making me non-rehireable. She lied that I “chose to go sleep in the office.”

I believe this was a prophetic sign and judgment of what would soon happen in New York with Eric Garner.

I wrote this poem in February 2014, when I lost my job to asthma and evil people in authority. I dedicate this poem to the memory of Eric Garner, who lost his life to asthma and evil people in authority. Eric, you are a martyr at God’s throne. Jesus holds you in his healing arms. Rest in peace from your earthly pain. Someday there will be holy justice.

I can't breathe
Image credit: [Flickr] Chris Ford. Licensed underCC2.0

The Empty Room: I Can’t Breathe

I look upon the empty room,
A room exhaling silence
       of child voices

The room sees
Eyes pour over lesson plans.
All the educational demands.
A told B and B told C
about the spontaneous ecstasy,
the momentary lessons be
of childhood wonder.

The room measures
Tick-tock hours measured by
laughs and tears and fears and smiles.
Days that measure, dress themselves
in colors of artwork upon the shelves
in water play in yellow sun
in raking red-gold leaves that run
with tiny footprints in the white.

The room sighs
Teachers silenced by harsh demands.
Take the pain upon their hands.
Fix the room, scream the theme
do the project, the curriculum means
but don’t you dare stay on the scene
just a minute late.

The room cries
Children sob the rules they dread.
Don’t make a mess, stay on your bed,
don’t put that bucket on your head,
too much noise behind the door,
be always ready for the Tour.

The room hurts
Teachers broken under stress
contradicting rules, duress.
Mental wounds leak out their bodies
while trying, trying, trying hardly
able to do it all and not get hurt

The room suffocates
I. Can’t. Breathe.

The walls of the room come closing in,
exhaling sickness, a volcano explosion.
Struggling to inhale the stale air,
the room echoes the silent terror.

The room dies
I. Quit.
Two words fill the empty room
I turn my back, I leave alone.
I must hide all the memories saved
to bury them in my mind’s grave.
I leave the room to the hands of God.
And breathe a prayer for my beloved

I think upon the empty preschool room,
A room exhaling silence
       of voices of pain
       spiritual death

pray for ferguson

Pray for Ferguson: The Prophetic Word

Pray for Ferguson. The city is erupting in violence and pain. The police are out of anyone’s control. Even our government has three branches of checks and balances and elected officials who are supposed to represent their communities. The police force has no election process, not even an outside regulatory agency. The police put themselves above the law.

But they are not above God’s law.

Pray for Ferguson: A War Zone

The images coming from Saint Louis are horrible. Green and black tanks thundering down the street. Giant military guns staring down the crowd through red cross-hair eyes. The police dressed in full military uniform, the camouflage of life and death. Full out war on civilians.

Peaceful protestors are being gassed and arrested. People crying out from a lifetime of pain and racial injustice, especially racial injustice under law enforcement, are burning police cars.

Pray for Ferguson.

God’s Prayer over Ferguson

God sees everything that is happening and all the history behind it. He weeps with those who weep. He holds Michael Brown’s family in his love, comforting them and promising vengeance. He sees the injustice and he fights with those who protest.

The Holy Spirit cries out:

How long will you continue to kill and destroy, you police officers who follow no law but the law of your own selfish ego? You go to church on Sunday and read your Bible where I told you, “Thou shalt not kill.” Even if you don’t go to church, I have spoken the same word to every religion and no religion. It is written on every human heart.

I have said “Thou shalt not bear false witness,” but you file fake reports and conduct scam investigations. Don’t worry, I have saved copies of all this evidence in my heavenly files. The Book of Life tells the truth of all your falsified evidence.

When you arrest someone falsely and destroy their future, it is written in my book. When you rip children out of their mother’s arms, sending them to heaven before their time, the blood cries out to me.

The Cry of the Martyrs

God says:

I have raised up Michael Brown as a martyr. He joins my cloud of witnesses with Trayvon Martin and Emmett Till and other American martyrs.

Michael Brown cries at my throne for justice, for a future of peace to those oppressed by the American authorities. I have sent armies of warring angels to fight with the protesters. Look at the skies over Saint Louis, they are dark with war.

America, wake up! The blood and tears of your victims have filled the bowls of my throne. The darkness of your acts of police and military violence, the senseless killings of innocent civilian life, must face an account. Pray for Ferguson, pray for the innocent lives, and repent of your violence.

America, you commit systemic violence, too, enforced by your authorities. You hide behind computers and never ending policies of minimum wage, layoffs, cuts to safety nets, while families and children gaze on the terrifying gulf of homelessness and hopelessness. I hear their cries in the dark night, and I see when you send your police to imprison them for being homeless. Pray for the homeless and the least of these.

America, you spread your evil around the world. You send your military overseas and create wars, proudly proclaiming your role as “world police.” Who made you god of this world? I see the blood of Iraqi, Afghani, Palestinian children killed by American weapons. The angels nurse these little ones at my throne while I count your sins against you.

America, you are so proud of your weapons of blood. You take your tanks and military gear back to your shores, where your police use it to set yourselves up as omnipotent. Who are you? I am the God of the Angel Armies. I laugh at you in anger and the ground shakes. As you imprison and kill my servants, the earthquake will come.

Pray for Ferguson. Repent. Bring justice and truth to the victims. Perhaps I will turn my hand, but the hour is late.

God’s Word to the Victims

God says:

To Michael Brown’s family, know that Michael’s death is not in vain. Your tears empower my angel armies. Rest in my love, and be patient in the tribulation. The wheels of justice are slow, but strong. The debt will always be paid, if not on earth than in heaven. My justice will never fail. Darkness and violence can never prevail.

To all the victims of abusive police, military, and authorities, I see your pain. My anger is a fire against injustice. Societies that practice injustice always fall. Israel, Babylon, the Roman Empire, the British Empire. The American Empire will fall, too. Wait and soak in my love. Pray for my supernatural peace. Don’t lose hope. Darkness will never win. Even death, in my love, is a victory.

Pray for Ferguson

Today I pray for Ferguson, Missouri.

I pray that justice will prevail and the cries of the people will not be in vain.

I pray for repentance and change, lasting change, in America. I pray for the martyrs, and I pray that the will of God be done on earth as it is in heaven.


karley buckland, Martin Luther King portrait

Karley Buckland – The Truth

In just a few days, we will celebrate Martin Luther King Day, and his dream that one day children of all colors will hold hands in love and in the march for freedom. When will we ever reach that point? The recent news of the Karley Buckland incident shows how much more work we have to do on the issues of racism in Portland and the whole United States.

The Oregonian: Trimet Beating of 14-year-old

Karley Buckland, a white teenager. was recently beaten and injured by a couple of black teenagers as she boarded a Max train by the Clackamas mall. This is a sad story, but it is far more complicated than the media narrative of innocent little white kid beat up by gangster black thugs.

Portland Racism

Portland is the most racist place in which I have ever lived (and I have lived all over the United States). Nobody questions this story, instead they make racist comment after racist comment on OregonLive and other online news sources. They say these black girls are “animals” who just starting beating on Karley Buckland without any provocation.

Really? How many times have you seen anyone just start walloping another person out of the blue, with no provocation? I have never seen this. But, you, Portland, go ahead and just keep sticking your heads in the sand. Keep calling this is a black “hate crime.” You don’t understand.

Karley Buckland and Middle School Politics

I can tell you what happened. It’s the same thing that happens every day in every American middle school and high school. Karley was a bully.

Karley Buckland probably never laid a hand on anyone, but she used her white privilege to look down on her minority classmates and enemies. She spread rumors and vicious lies about them, about their boyfriends, their love interests. Schools do precious little to stop this emotional bullying, especially when white kids do it to students of color.

The article states that Karley Buckland sings in the choir, plays sports, and is on student council. All of these activities require money. Also, her family seemed to have enough money to immediately hire a private lawyer. Money comes from privilege.

Karley Buckland obviously has access to resources which some of her classmates can only dream about. Certainly Rakeshia Burns (one of her black attackers) does not come from a family that can support sports and singing. She is probably fighting to barely survive, like most black people in Portland.

Of course, Rakeshia and her sisters should not have reacted in such violence, it is wrong to cause physical harm to another, and they are paying for it legally. But how many weeks, months, years, did Rakeshia have to listen to Karley Buckland, and all the other white Karleys and Karls of her school, flaunt white privilege and say nasty comments before Rakeshia snapped? What did Karley say to her that day on the Max that was the last straw?

The Cover-Up

Of course, we may never know the truth. Whoever took the video obviously edited it to make Karley Buckland look completely innocent. Where is the footage from the beginning of the fight? What was said before fists started flying? And who took that video? Was it one of Karley’s friends, hoping for their five minutes of fame as well?

Why did nobody intervene? And why is the Trimet footage conveniently damaged? One media report did state that the first Trimet officer who responded to the scene said that Karley instigated the fight. He later retracted his statement, probably under pressure.

Karley Buckland claims to not know the suspects, but it was her own classmates at Centennial Middle School that identified the suspects to police. Therefore, these were neighborhood kids, and almost certainly Karley’s classmates.

Karley is lying. Karley’s family is gun-ho on sending these black kids to jail, but in the end, the Bucklands will be ultimately responsible for destroying lives and furthering the cruel sting of racism in Portland